Valbridge
News 2017

Multifamily Developers are Getting Creative to Attract Renters


The multifamily property market continues to outperform other sectors and has the lowest vacancy rates of all major property types. It's a market driven by solid economic fundamentals, and one that many experts feel confident will continue to grow. It's predicted that renter households will increase in every generational demographic, with millennials leading the way. To attract them, developers are getting more creative, experimenting with new designs, offering modern amenities, and taking an innovative approach to marketing.

Amenities Evolution

Amenities-rich multifamily housing is shaping the now and future market. Mixed-income, mixed-use neighborhood developers are offering up a slew of amenities designed to both attract and compete. Nice pools and large fitness centers are now mostly a given, but they aren’t the only communal amenities residents seek when choosing the perfect place to live. Today’s multifamily dwellers want all the amenities they’d find in a single-family suburban market, and are searching for perks like:

  • Ample off-street parking.
  • Recycling facilities.
  • Storage space outside the unit.
  • Community Wi-Fi and a business center.
  • Secured access.

Many mixed-use developers are also including grocery stores and other retailers who offer residents quick access to life’s necessities. Many millennials state they want a place to live, work, and play without ever getting behind the wheel.

Innovative Design

One design trend taking the market by storm is micro-apartments, which have found impressive success in coastal cities with a high cost-of-living. Even inland cities like Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh are taking a chance on micro, building properties that feature units that are typically 400 square feet or less. They’re betting that younger renters will prefer the smaller, but more luxurious, spaces that often come fully furnished and feature millennial-friendly amenities such as high-speed internet and rooftop vegetable gardens.

Other trends include housing designed with aging-in-place in mind. Empty nesters are also attracted to multi-family living and are looking for a low-maintenance, walkable experience enhanced by amenities that address their age-specific needs.

Co-Branding

One of the more innovative and exciting trends in multifamily housing is non-real estate brands moving into the market’s development phase. Luxury brands in particular are looking to expand into diverse markets that let them showcase their expertise in design and craftsmanship. The Aston Martin Residences in Miami are a great example. The 66-story, 390 high-end condominium tower will boast Aston Martin-designed interiors, including seven penthouses, a two-story fitness center, and a full-service spa.

Other brands like Versace, Bulgari, and Armani have also dipped their collective toe in the multifamily housing design pool. The brands believe it offers them a great opportunity to expand into new arenas in exchange for lending their respective brand’s prestige and unique design touch. Key to the success of such co-branding endeavors is a developer partnering with a brand it believes will resonate with its desired target audience.

Marketing That Makes a Connection

Renting is no longer a simple transaction involving building banners and lease agreements. And where renting was once considered a stepping stone to homeownership, the new American dream for a large segment of the population is a rental to call home. To adapt to this new reality, developers, owners, and management companies are reconfiguring their marketing strategies to include a more emotional component.

The best way to reach potential residents on an emotional level is by understanding why they’re choosing to rent in the first place. Today’s renters want their space to feel like home, not a temporary holding location. They want all the same conveniences and amenities homeowners enjoy, want their friends nearby, and want to feel they are part of a real community. Developers who are able to tap into a renter’s heart and mind will have the greatest impact in today’s multifamily housing market.